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Forbes: Labour MPs have 'lost sight' of purpose

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Labour councillors “despair of the state of our party nationally”, according to the party’s most senior councillor, in an exclusive column for LGC.

In the article, Labour’s Local Government Association group leader Nick Forbes criticises his party’s parliamentary colleagues amid the bitter split which has seen leader Jeremy Corbyn opposed by the bulk of the party’s backbenchers.

Cllr Forbes also expresses concern about the “threat of Labour existing only as a party of the north” as its appeal diminishes to many voters.

He said: “Many in Parliament have lost sight of the role of elected politicians, which is to serve the public. The divide at the top must not be allowed to distract us from getting on with the job voters expect of us.”

Read Nick Forbes’ column here

Cllr Forbes said he did not believe the party would split but he added the leadership battle between Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith will have been “futile” if the result did not produce a springboard for a general election victory.

“I want a Labour party in Downing Street that can deliver nationally what we deliver locally,” said Cllr Forbes. “We will come no closer to that goal by arguing among ourselves.”

In what might be considered criticism of Mr Corbyn’s leadership, Cllr Forbes adds: “The party nationally has to offer more than just protest and if it doesn’t, the beneficiaries will be the Tories, creating the potential for another decade of pain for our communities.”

In June a number of local authority Labour leaders including Manchester City Council’s Sir Richard Leese, Camden LBC’s Sarah Hayward, and Leicester city’s mayor Sir Peter Soulsby, signed a letter of no confidence in Mr Corbyn.

And last month it emerged that over 1,000 Labour councillors have signed a letter expressing support for Mr Corbyn’s leadership rival Owen Smith.

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